Oceania Travel

Lifou, New Caledonia

24 April 2013

We arrived on this small New Caledonian island by tender boat as the island does not have a port. This was a fun little journey which provided us with an excellent view of the secluded island as we slowly approached it. Walking along the jetty, we immediately noticed people stopping and pointing just over the barrier. Sea turtles! I have never seen a wild sea turtle so this was a very exciting (and cute) moment for me. Seeing little turtle heads bobbing up and down in a cerulean sea was a good start to the day.

We really wanted to spend our island days active and were thrilled to discover bicycles for rent. However, the prices were atrocious so we decided to skip the ride for the day. We noticed that the prices were absolutely ridiculous on the islands, but that was the only real disappointment of our destinations.

We wandered through a few souvenir market stalls to find a map of the island. We wanted to visit a grotto but were unsure how long it would take us by foot. We settled on relaxing on the beach all morning which was lovely and sleep-inducing. We ended our time on the beach snorkeling, although the snorkeling in Port Vila was much more brilliant in comparison. As the water was sandy it was difficult to see much, I believe we only encountered two or so white fish, in comparison to the hundreds of coloured fish in Vanuatu. The sea floor was also rather rocky and my borrowed flippers are now looking a little worse for wear.

We dried off and decided to go for a wander. The island really has a low amount of inhabitants. We spotted some lovely plants on the way, Alex getting excited again about the fauna similarities to Costa Rica. We climbed up a small hill and ended up on the top of a cliff, overhanging the ocean with a beautiful view on our left. The edge of the cliff also featured a quaint little church, which is interesting as a lot of people really struggled to climb that hill to the top. Lifou was hot, but nowhere near as humid and sweaty as Port Vila.

We declined the hill and headed towards the opposite side of the island, hoping to find the grotto. On our way we found an even nicer church, as well as some darling huts, typical of what you’d imagine of the area. A tourist on a bike was approaching, so we enquired how far it was to the grotto. He said he’d ridden for ages and found nothing. As we didn’t have much time left on the island, we decided we’d have to give it a miss for now and we headed back to the jetty.

Waiting for the tender boat, we were enthralled once again with the sea turtles frolicking about nearby, and also by a crab who looked like he was struggling at the top of the water. Suddenly a man from the jetty started running towards the beach. Our eyes followed and stopped at a mob of people surrounding something on the water’s edge. It was a man and he needed to be resuscitated. We are unsure what happened, but he was given CPR for over twenty minutes. The doctors from the ship arrived and ran to the man. They continued trying to resuscitate him but we never saw them stop pumping. We had to leave on the tender boat at this stage. We have no idea what happened, but we’re hoping the man is okay.

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  • Reply Paz 14 May 2013 at 8:23 am

    I hope the man’s okay and glad you were well to enjoy these beautiful sights. Lovely photos.

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